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Business Beat: Who’s Ready for Electric Cars

There is an Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution coming!

Hyperbole? Maybe not.

The number of EVs in Canada is still small but a historically flat growth curve has started a dramatic upward trajectory over the last couple of years.

In 2017, 392 new EVs were registered in Alberta, which was about 70% more than in 2016. In 2018, this number more than doubled to 926. And in 2019, Q1 was up 65% from 2018. Across Canada, there are now over 100,000 registered EVs, with 2018 EV sales more than double 2017 sales. All of this growth occurred prior to the Federal Government incentive being offered. This phenomenon is being seen all over the world.

Currently, the most popular EV is the Tesla Model 3, which in December 2018 had the fourth highest sales in the US across all vehicles, gas or electric. Comparing US sales of the Model 3 to other manufacturer's vehicles at that price point, the Model 3 outsold all other models combined. Tesla's success has landed a direct hit to some gas vehicle sales, incentivizing other automakers to produce their own EV models to compete. There are currently 16 different Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and 26 Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles available for sale in Canada. This number is expected to increase significantly in 2020.

While government incentives will certainly encourage EV sales, to date there have been no government "EV mandates" to impose quotas of EV sales on manufacturers. On top of the natural demand for electric vehicles, mandates are starting to be enacted in various jurisdictions, some even going so far as to set target dates to cease sales of gas vehicles. Many countries have set target dates for the elimination of gas and diesel powered vehicle sales. India has a target date of 2030, while Norway is aiming at 2025 to be the start of all vehicles being emission-free.

EV car sales are accelerating naturally through an organically increasing consumer demand for current models. Each year the quality of EVs is getting better, with longer range, better performance and reliability - all while getting more affordable. With the addition of government initiatives around the world the demand will continue to increase.

So are you ready for the revolution?

Despite the increasing number of EV owners, there is still doubt about EVs and what they can and cannot do.

You may be suspicious of EVs (and the religious fervour of some of their owners). You may have heard negative stories suggesting that EVs create more CO2 emissions than internal combustion vehicles. And you may have heard stories about issues driving in the winter.

And there are other questions that surround this movement towards EVs. Where can you charge your vehicle? How often do you need to charge? Where would you get an EV serviced? And the questions go on.

On August 30, APEX Alberta will be hosting a session about EVs. Please join us at this free event taking place at the Medicine Hat College where we will help you understand the environmental and economic benefits of electric transportation.

We will hear form various speakers about the initiatives going on in Southeast Alberta. An experienced EV driver will also be presenting detailed information about EVs and why he made the switch to an electric vehicle.

This is a great opportunity for you to ask your questions about this growing and emerging market. We will guide you through government funding incentives for a personal EV purchase or business fleet vehicles.

Finally, you will have a chance to visit Medicine Hat's newest vehicle charging station and learn how eco-friendly fueling stations being installed across our region are helping encourage tourism in our city.

To register for this free event, please visit the APEX website or call 403-528-2824 to register.

Elizabeth Blair is the regional innovation network coordinator for APEX Alberta.

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